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Before the current evolution series ES44s the General Electric manufactured Dash 9 series locomotives for North America. These high tech locomotives were C44-9, C44-9W and the AC-version AC4400. While the AC-version (asynchronous current) was priced much higher than the DC (direct current) versions many railroad like BNSF Railway preferred the cheaper version, which still could do the work. The production series of the locomotives were built between 1993 and 2004, following the successfull Dash-8 series (C44-8W, C40-8W, B40-8W, etc.). Ultimately over 5000 of the Dash-9s were built! Of these over 2000 to BNSF and it's predecessors alone. The Dash-9 series provides reliable power for operations in the mountains and plains as well, serving in many cases in multiple unit consists for stack trains as well as hauling bulk commodities like coal. Unlike the competitor EMD the General Electric was fast to provide service for the railroads to supplement its production. With the highly succesfull Dash-9 series this lead to dominant market share in the North America. The best way to keep the customer happy is to always make sure the locomotives is in the optimally good shape.

Picture: The Heritage 2 painted BNSF C44-9W / Dash9-44W is the lead unit of the mixed freight from Bakersfield over the Tehachapi pass to Bartstow. 3 C44-9W units and a couple of Geeps provide enough power for the 100+ cars train for a successful mountain crossing. Picture by John McKey.  

Some of the key issues for a success for General Electric during the Dash9 period:

  • Modular, state of the art design. 
  • Service provided partly by the manufacturer.  
  • Locomotives can send messages to the manufacturer anuwhere on the road. This will enable parts shipments and service personnel allocation well ahead of the arrival to the destination. 
  • Filosophy of always improving things.  
  • Long standardized series built.     

Picture: Warbonnets of the ATSF (Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe) still ruled when the C44-9W number 769 was built. Here the unit has "BNSF" text in the middle replacing the earlier "Santa Fe" (this unit was originally painted with a BNSF text) . It is providing the power with 3 sisters needed to pull the 100+ car stack and trailer train in the California's Central Valley. Picture by John McKey.  

Technical specifications for General Electric C44-9W/C44-9/C40-9W 
Type: C44-9W/C44-9/C40-9W (2x3 axled = C 4400/4000 horse power locomotive of Dash-9 series with DC traction motors, W = wide safety nose)   
Usage: Heavy freight locomotive with road switching and multiple unit + distributed power unit capability.
Builder: General Electric Transportation Systems  
Production dates: production started in year 1993 after thorough testing with the prototypes. Ultimately around 5000 locomotives were built (of several Dash-9 types). The new emission standards made it necessary to switch to ES44 production in the year 2005.
Numbers built: >5000

Gauge: most 1435 mm (4 ft 8,5 in) , any gauge by demand.
Users: North American customers like BC Rail (now CN), BNSF Railway, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific Railway (AC4400's), Chicago and North Western (now UP), Companhia Ferroviária do Nordeste (Brasil), CSX Transportation, Estrada de Ferro Carajás (Brazil), Ferromex (Mexico), Ferrosur (Mexico), Hamersley Iron (Australia), Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern (1000 C40's), Union Pacific, Quebec, North Shore and Labrador, ...
Can be seen in: North, Central and Southern America, Australia   
Energy Source: Diesel fuel  
Engine: GE 7FDL16 turbocharged for 4400 Hp & nonturbocharged for 4000 Hp. 16 cylinder V shaped engine with 4 strokes.
Power output: 3300 kW (4400 Hp) / 2980 kW (4000 Hp)      
Transmission: Diesel electric AC or DC according to customer needs
Alternator: GE GMG197   
Traction motors: DC GE 5GE752AH / AC:   
Tractive Effort:   kN  /   kN 
Wheel arrangement:  C-C (AAR) / Co'Co' (UIC)   
Wheel diameter: 107 cm / 42" 
Bogies: GE HiAd (high adhesion)
Maximum operational speed where possible: 113 km/h (70 mph)  

Length:22,3 m / 73' 2"    
Heigth: 5,03 m / 16'
Width: 3,12 m / 10' 3"    

Weight: 179 metric tons (394'000 lbs)   
Axle weight max:  

Fuel capacity: 18900 liters / 5000 gallons



Picture: One of the spotting features for the Dash-9 series is the large radiator at the end of the long hood. Here a BNSF C44-9W number 5371 in Bakersfield. Picture by John McKey. 

Picture: A pair of C44-9Ws are approaching Barstow with a huge empty stack train. Picture by John McKey.    

More pictures and information on General Electric C44-9W locomotives...

Created for by John McKey. Pictures by Ilkka Siissalo and John McKey.

 Also in this section 

General Electric ES44AC/DC locomotives Page. The newest in state of the art product line. These locomotives are built to handle even the toughest routes, trains and handling while providing comfortable environment for the train personnel.  

General Electric C44-9W/AC4400 locomotives Page. The previous generation with around 5000 units built! Durable and popular locomotive for heavy duties. 

Russian railroads RZD employs an incredible 1, 3 million people! Take a look at the locomotive types of the east!  

Traxx family of locomotives by Bombardier has been very successfull in Europe. Take a look at the Traxx Locomotives Page!  

The Re460 is a popular locomotive originating from the Lok2000 program of Switzerland. Design by Pininfarina further helped to spread this high quality type. Last of the locomotives were built by Bombardier and later the production replaced by now highly popular Traxx platform

JT42/Class66 is one of the most common diesel locomotive types in Europe. Look at the Class 66 Page to find out more about the success.


Train Recognition guide (now in construction) will help you recognize around 300 of the most common locomotive, EMU and DMU types!   

High Speed Section of the brings you the latest and the history of the over 50 most common super high speed and high speed trains. In this area there are always interesting things going on.  

Other interesting pages in this category on 
  General Electric ES44AC / ES44DC    


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© Railroad Reference 2004 - 2009  -  Created 9.6.2009 John McKey, Updated 10.6.2009